Code of Practice Revision: Accomplishments and Next Steps

A progress update on NAVA's revision of the Code of Practice, plus upcoming opportunities to get involved in the drafting process.

Image: Artist Prue Stevenson with her mural "Neural Perspective" 2021 as part of Flash Forward, Little William Street, Melbourne. Photo by Nicole Reed.

[Image description: Artist is standing centre frame, she is looking to the left, her back is turned. She is holding a paintbrush and wearing grey long sleeve overalls, a face mask and a cap with the peak turned up. She has curly brown hair. In the background is a dark blue wall with squiggly lines painted in dark pink, peach and very pale pink. Words are also painted on the wall including "don't fear the meltdown" and "Process this in your own time".]

Progress Update

At the end of 2021, NAVA accomplished approximately two-thirds of the sector consultations, with a quarter of the chapters either fully drafted or in the process of being drafted. The NAVA team thanks you for your active participation and the valuable insights that have contributed to the Code revision so far.

In the first half of 2022, NAVA will continue to focus energy and resources towards revising the Code of Practice as our highest priority. NAVA has engaged a project manager and editor to help move the revision through to delivery efficiently and to schedule. 


To allow the visual arts sector time to consider the updates to the Code of Practice ahead of the next round of national multi-year funding, NAVA aims to complete the majority of the Code of Practice revision by mid-2022. From there the Code will be a living document that will continue to evolve and change as our knowledge grows. 

Recent Consultations

October 2021 

The Disability Focus Group met for the fourth time in October. The meeting was facilitated by Canberra based disability activist and artist Daniel Savage and included seven artists and arts workers with disability.

The group discussed the content of the revised Code of Practice regarding awards, prizes and competitions. The meeting included discussion on:

  • Barriers that artists experience when applying for awards and prizes including financial and structural barriers.
  • Different application processes and formats that would make awards and prizes more accessible.
  • Ways to provide financial support to artists when entry fees are a barrier.
  • Removing structural barriers such as short deadlines.
  • Achieving  accessibility in award and prize exhibitions.

The focus group will continue to meet in 2022 to further advise on the Code of Practice revision and NAVA's advocacy work.

November 2021 

In November NAVA convened the first in a series of consultations with eight Independent Arts Workers. The meeting was facilitated by Zoya Godoroja-Prieckaerts. For a detailed summary of the session focus and outcomes, please visit the NAVA website.  

January 2022

To kick off 2022, NAVA facilitated a thoughtful consultation session with seven festival leaders to work through the Festivals Discussion Paper in detail. 

The meeting included discussion on:

  • Roles and responsibilities of artists and festivals. 
  • Good practice in program selection for ensuring artists from marginalised backgrounds are represented within the program. 
  • Determining artist fees, balancing resource need and resource availability, and the changing nature of works as they develop. 
  • Providing transparent contracts when engaging with artists. 
  • Good practice in negotiating cancellations, postponements and contingencies. 

Feedback from this consultation session will be amalgamated with the responses from the Festivals Discussion Paper online survey, which is open for comment now.

Have your say

In addition to the Festivals Discussion Paper, there are currently six other Discussion Papers online available for comment. This includes papers on: Commercial Galleries and Representation, Commissioning New Work, Funding, Hiring Space, Temporary Public Art and Touring. These Discussion Papers are open for feedback until 28 February 2022. Your feedback will be compiled and provided to commissioned writers to draft the new content. 

We strongly encourage you to contribute to the Discussion Papers – the more feedback we receive, the stronger the Code of Practice will work for you.

Upcoming Opportunities

Key opportunities for contribution over the coming months will be centred on final consultations, surveys and conversations around the Principles, Ethics and Rights section of the Code, and importantly Fees, Rates and Wages. These sections, particularly the latter, are challenging given the variability in the way things are currently done, but with your help, NAVA is committed to crafting recommendations that are usable, relevant, ambitious and that look after artists and organisations alike.

We will soon contact people who have previously indicated an interest in being involved in the Fees, Rates and Wages consultations. We will also advertise opportunities for contribution in our monthly NAVA News, on our website and via our social media channels, so keep an eye out. If you would like to be involved, please email and leave your name and area/s of interest.

You can find more information about the Code of Practice revision project and the current Code of Practice on the NAVA website. To access the Code of Practice you will need a free login to the NAVA website using an email address and password.